Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Poppies are Packed Away Now.



At eleven this morning many in the nation stood to remember once again.  Large crowds attended ceremonies around the country as the commemoration of the beginning of the Great War came to an end.  Exhibitions and events will continue, I may have one on Friday night if I stay awake long enough, and throughout the country folks are now researching their war dead and discovering surprising news about their families.
I myself did not attend anything today, I made it to the museum, realised my head was spinning from some bug and made my way back home until it ran its course and passed me by.  This did mean nothing got done but hey, that's not unusual in here is it?

We move on from the remembrance ceremonies now, soon the poppies will disappear from the jackets and volunteers will begin counting the cash collected, most likely a bumper years for the British Legion.  I leave it with this poem by Joe Lee, a forgotten yet great poet from Dundee.  He had travelled a bit, worked for John Leng & Co who published the 'Peoples Journal,' a paper he would later edit. and enlisting at 4 years of age spent most of the war with the 4th Black Watch, later commissioned into the Kings Royal Rifle Corps.  A friend of the leading literary figures of the day between the wars he worked in London as sub editor for the 'News Chronicle' and mixed with the great poets of the day.  His work was acclaimed as equal to Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sasson's war poetry yet he never achieved, if indeed he sought it, literary fame.  He has many poems, I liked this one. 

German Prisoners

When first I saw you in the curious street
Like some platoon of soldier ghosts in grey,
My mad impulse was all to smite and slay,
To spit upon you—tread you 'neath my feet.
But when I saw how each sad soul did greet
My gaze with no sign of defiant frown,
How from tired eyes looked spirits broken down,
How each face showed the pale flag of defeat,
And doubt, despair, and disillusionment,
And how were grievous wounds on many a head.
And on your garb red-faced was other red;
And how you stooped as men whose strength was spent,
I knew that we had suffered each as other,
And could have grasped your hand and cried, "My brother!"

Joe Lee.


Joseph Lee


.

5 comments:

Lee said...

Wonderful.

And the scene of all those poppies commemorating those who lost their lives is an awesome sight and to have witnessed it personally must have been an incredibly moving moment.

I always buy a poppy each time I go past those selling them. The proceeds go to a good cause; and I feel it's my obligation to do so...and I willingly do so. I always buy the badges come Anzac Day time, too. I could set up my own stall! ;)

the fly in the web said...

I'll look him up...many thanks.

the fly in the web said...

No official ceremony here in Costa Rica...

Carol said...

A lot of people have posted poetry on their blogs for Remembrance Day. I read a poem to my class at 11am too.
Hope you are on the mend Adullaman. Keep warm.

Adullamite said...

Lee, One poppy is enough lass! Though I often buy two when the first falls off.

Fly, No war there I suppose, lucky people. Just routine infighting.

Carol, Look up Joseph Lee, he was a real fighting poet.